Packers 2021 free agency: Allen Lazard should be back

Green Bay Packers, Allen Lazard (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Allen Lazard (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

With the Green Bay Packers needing to get under the salary cap before the new league year, Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball will have a number of difficult decisions to make.

One of them isn’t to do with Allen Lazard‘s future with the team.

Lazard is an exclusive rights free agent. Simply put, it’s one of the few easy decisions the Packers will have to make in the coming weeks.

As an ERFA, the Packers have the choice to bring him back on a one-year deal. If they choose to do so, Lazard wouldn’t be able to negotiate with any other teams.

Using Over The Cap’s calculator, the ERFA tender would give Lazard a projected cap hit of $850,000. Given Lazard’s importance to Green Bay’s offense, that’s an absolute bargain and a no-brainer for Gutekunst.

Lazard has stepped up and become one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets over the past two seasons. When given an opportunity in 2019, he made an impact and showed he deserved more and more playing time.

Even in an injury-hit 2020 season, Lazard showed his value to the offense with 33 catches for 451 yards and three touchdowns, impressive numbers given the fact he missed six games due to a core muscle injury that required surgery.

In the game he got injured — Green Bay’s Week 3 win over the New Orleans Saints — Lazard dominated with six receptions for 146 yards and a score. With Davante Adams missing due to injury, Lazard’s performance helped guide the Packers to an important victory.

One has to wonder what kind of season he could’ve had if not for the injury. Despite the fact he returned, Lazard remained on the injury report. Robert Tonyan suffered a core muscle injury in 2019 and struggled to make an impact when he returned later in the season.

But Tonyan showed this year, when healthy, just how good he is.

Lazard did shine in the Packers’ divisional round victory over the Los Angeles Rams with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

His value as a consistent receiver, as well as a great blocker, means Lazard should again be near the top of the depth chart in 2021. The Packers have an easy decision to make.

Expect to see Lazard back next season.